Ben Stiller’s work as a filmmaker has been more consistent than his acting career — Reality Bites, The Cable Guy, Zoolander and Tropic Thunder each have their virtues — but the announcement of a new directorial project is hardly going to inspire much excitement. This is likely to change, however, once you take a look at the first trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a seemingly ambitious remake of the 1947 musical fantasy (itself an adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story). Stiller stars as the titular character, an anonymous magazine editor who escapes into his fantastical daydreams. Kristen Wiig plays his love interest, a grizzled Sean Penn mysteriously appears in a photograph, Adam Scott is a douchey co-worker, and Kathryn Hahn, Shirley MacLaine and Patton Oswalt round out the great supporting cast. Not only does the film appear to be much more of a visual extravaganza than anything Stiller has done before — Eternal Sunshine meets Life of Pi? — but this elegant trailer remarkably features no dialogue until the final seconds, relying instead on the strength of the visuals backed by Of Monsters and Men’s ‘Dirty Paws’, which is certainly a refreshingly anomaly in 2013. This is not a film I expected to be excited about, but this beautiful trailer has sold me and I’m now intrigued by Stiller’s promising new direction.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25 in the US. Watch the first trailer below.